USA To Withdraw Student Visas If Classes Move Fully Online

The United States of America has decided to not allow international students to remain in the country if all of their classes are moved online. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States of America. The Donald Trump administration took the decision in the wake of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students issued only for the Fall 2020 semester.


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USA Withdraws Student Visas

Harvard And MIT Sue US Immigration Authorities

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the United States Department of Homeland Security and the ICE over new rules regarding the entry of foreign students in the USA if their universities switch to fully-online classes in the Fall 2020 Semester.

The universities also filed a lawsuit requesting a temporary restraining order to stop the US Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the enforcing new federal guidelines that will force foreign students to leave the country.

The new move would affect the international student's community in the United States. India is the second-largest contributor of foreign students in the US after China.

SEVP Temporary Exemptions For Nonimmigrant Students

On July 6, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement regarding the entry of nonimmigrant F1 and M1 students for the fall 2020 semester. Explore the new rules listed below as per ICE's official statement.

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  • Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.
  • The United States will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.
  • Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
  • Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations.
  • Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
  • F-1 nonimmigrant students pursue academic coursework and M-1 nonimmigrant students pursue vocational coursework while studying in the United States.

The notice reads, "Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency."

Earlier, the USA had temporarily suspended non-immigrant visas, such as the H1B until December.

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